NFL: Poor Conduct, Poor Decisions, Poor Roger

by Nick Vitale

Pandemonium has been ensuing throughout the National Football League recently. NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, is calling for a new conduct policy due to all of the poor decision making that has been going on throughout the league. Goodell blames himself for most of the mistakes that have been made by the NFL. The commissioner said that the league will attempt to implement a new personal conduct policy. This is the result of the multitude of domestic violence and child abuse charges brought against NFL players within the past few months.

Most of the mistakes gained the attention of the media when a hotel elevator surveillance video showed Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancé was released by TMZ on Sept. 8, 2014. The video has sparked public outrage from fans, the media, and companies who sponsor the NFL. However, before the video surfaced, the public did not really care that Ray Rice allegedly knocked out his fiancé (now his wife) in an elevator even though there was already a video of Janay Rice falling out of the elevator unconscious and Ray Rice failing miserably to defuse the situation. All Rice really had to do was pick up Jenay and carry her back to the room, but instead he left her on the floor where there was a witness waiting right in front of the elevator and eventually the police were called.

The first mistake Roger Goodell made was the way he handled the Ray Rice situation. Rice’s original punishment suspension for two games in 2014-2015 season. That punishment would have held if the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife did not surface. Once the video was revealed to the public, the Baltimore Ravens immediately released Ray Rice. Roger Goodell made a statement saying that he was going to make the penalty for domestic violence more severe. The new policy states if an NFL player is arrested for domestic violence he will be suspended for six games for a first offense and then he will be banned for life if he is charged with a second offense. Part of the reason why this happened was because of the outrage expressed by the fans and the media, but the main reason was because the NFL was running the risk of losing their sponsors. NFL sponsors expressed outrage as well due to some of the decision making going on within the NFL.

Along with Ray Rice, there have been other NFL players who have been charged with domestic violence and some that have been charged with child abuse. As of right now, Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, is facing child abuse charges. He is currently on the exempt list and it is likely that his 2014 season might be over. The Vikings sat out Peterson in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. However, the Vikings announced that they will allow Peterson to play in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings changed their minds soon after making this decision when a few big name sponsors of the NFL, such as Budweiser, criticized the NFL for their handling of domestic violence.

It is ironic how the NFL changes their tune when there is money involved. The moment the NFL realized that they could lose their sponsors over the domestic violence incidents they immediately punished the players that were charged. Soon after, Roger Goodell changed the domestic violence policy and he apologized to the public for his actions. Now, he is changing the entire NFL conduct policy. If the NFL sponsors did not get involved with this issue the domestic violence policy may never have been altered and the NFL would still consider domestic violence as not that big of a deal.

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